Why it matters: Prices for graphics cards are dropping again in some European countries, and retail inventory is now better than it’s been in two years. The situation differs in other regions, but the overall trend is noticeable. Finding a GPU at MSRP is no longer a distant dream and with a bit of luck, gamers will be able to find current-gen models for a fair price.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen a positive trend when it comes to both the pricing and availability of new and used graphics cards. After a crazy two years with scalpers and miners driving prices into the stratosphere, we’re inching closer to MSRP and you can now find most of Nvidia’s RTX 3000 and AMD’s RX 6000 series graphics cards in stock at major retailers.
However, as our own Tim Schiesser points out in his monthly GPU pricing and availability analysis, it’s hard to ignore the fact that we’re only now seeing more sane prices just as Nvidia and AMD are getting ready to launch a new generation of GPUs.
If the latest rumors are true, these new cards will offer a significant leap in performance over the current crop. This makes it harder for gamers to decide between waiting another six months and paying MSRP-level prices for GPUs that are now more than one and a half years old. Then again, next-gen cards may well come with higher MSRPs, and Nvidia pretty much confirmed it will keep making Ampere cards for a while yet.
Meanwhile, 3DCenter reports that GPU pricing in Europe has continued its drop over the past few weeks. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3000 series are still more expensive than Team Red offerings, but they can now be found at around 14 percent over MSRP. AMD’s RX 6000 series are, on average, being sold at around seven percent above MSRP. Some models like the RX 6500 XT and the RX 6600 can even be found as low as 11 percent below MSRP.
The bad news is that Ethereum’s transition to proof-of-stake has been delayed again, and GPU miners can now bypass the hash rate limiter on many of Nvidia’s RTX 3000 LHR series cards. There is a glimmer of hope that the plunging price of Ethereum could discourage miners from buying more Ampere cards, and mining profitability has been trending down for several months now.
Overall, the GPU market is getting more gamer-friendly every month, and that’s a good thing. AMD is close to launching its refreshed RDNA 2 cards, and Intel is preparing to attack the low-end and mainstream segments with Alchemist Bow. We’ll have to wait and see if that has any effect on GPU prices in general but given Intel’s silence on the matter, we don’t expect any major improvements.